Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday animation: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

Rating:

o.O Okay, uh...wow, I have seen so many obscure and critically acclaimed hand drawn films, and yet all five times I have randomly selected a movie to review using a random number generator, I have gotten just okay Disney films, one Pokemon film, and now I have to review the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie!

I...I don't even know.

Honestly, I adore SpongeBob. It came out when I was ten-years-old, and I loved its quirkiness and adorably innocent and ignorant characters. The first few seasons were great. Pretty much every episode was hilarious and quotable. Around season five is when it started to go downhill with increasingly stupid gags and "cutesy" animation. The movie came out at a time when the show's quality was already pretty poor, but it hadn't completely tanked yet, so it's kind of in between what used to make SpongeBob fantastic and what now makes it complete crap.

SpongeBob, SpongeBob...I miss you so much. What have they done to you? T.T

Heeeeeeeeeeee's ready!
Overview: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was released in 2004 by Nickelodeon.  It had generally favorable reviews and was very successful worldwide.

Art: There are some live-action scenes, but I am of course only reviewing the hand drawn segments which make up a majority of the film.  The design is pretty identical to the show.  This was before the revamped style of the show, before they made SpongeBob and Patrick's "silly happy" faces look so...cute.  Like, in the new design, SpongeBob's cheeks are very puffy, but in the older style including this movie, his cheeks aren't nearly so puffy.  I like the old style much better!  The quality is certainly much better than that of the show: crisper, more vibrant, more fluid, better shading.  Can I say that it's beautiful.  Er...no, it just looks like a glorified cartoon for the most part which is the best they could do considering the source material.  A lot of effort and time obviously went into it, though.  Some scenes actually do like nice.






Sound: Sound is what you would expect for a modern film, crisp and clear.  The music is very similar to the show.  There were a couple of musical numbers which were actually pretty fun and catchy.  Silly, but fun.  All of the original voice actors are used in this film, and they all did just as well as they did in the T.V. series.  However, I found that Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, had been around this time starting to change the voice he was using for SpongeBob.  He sounds a lot goofier and higher pitched here than he did in the early seasons of that show, and that of course would carry on into the new seasons.  Not happy about that!  Otherwise, acting was good EXCEPT Scarlett Johansson who played the daughter of King Neptune, Princess Mindy.  I know that she's an acclaimed actor, but man, I thought she was TERRIBLE in this movie.  Horrible acting, flat and boring.

Story: The plot is much more developed but just as silly as regular SpongeBob episode.  Plankton steals King Neptune's crown and frames Mr. Krabs.  SpongeBob and Patrick then set out on a big adventure to retrieve the crown.  Friendship and trusting in your own power are two major themes.  There is a lot happening every moment in the film, zaniness, jokes, and gags throughout.  The characters are all the characters we've become familiar with in the show and remain very likeable and quirky.  Two main exceptions are King Neptune, who is portrayed very different in the show including a different design, and his daughter, Mindy, who is never seen the show and is really, really boring.  Surprisingly, the plot has a lot to it, a lot that you can take away.  It even has some scary moments.  Well, at least, I was creeped out by the old lady with the ice cream and her cat.


I usually love cats, but I concur with the SpongeBob and Patrick.
Personal appeal: The first time I saw this movie was in Okinawa with my family.  My entire family loves SpongeBob, so we were only too happy to go see it on the big screen.  Afterwards, I remember feeling disappointed, like it just wasn't what I hoped it would be.  It seemed too silly to me.  As time went on and I watched more times on Nickelodeon, I've come to appreciate it for what it is: a movie about SpongeBob, and it delivers well on that.  I wish that it employed more of the quirky humor from the first couple seasons rather than the type of humor from the newer seasons, but I still enjoy watching this movie.  It does have some very funny moments, and I never get bored while watching it.  So, while it's not everything I could ask for in a SpongeBob movie, it's still quite good.

This image captures my general feelings about this movie.
Overall, I give this movie two and a half peridots.  It does what it was meant to do, it has high quality animation considering the source material, and the story goes beyond what a normal episode of SpongeBob does.  I could definitely watch again, and I'm sure I'm will since it's on Nickelodeon quite frequently.  I would not recommend this film to anyone who is not a SpongeBob fan, though, so I definitely cannot say it has universal appeal.  I had to knock it down half a peridot for that.

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